Before you answer the title question, you should be aware of a few key facts. I heartily recommend that you take Chris Martenson's Crash Course. It may cause you to have doubts that the current system will deliver. This is not new information. However, Chris has done an outstanding job of presenting the information.
After you have watched and digested the Crash Course come back here. I have known that we have a sustainability problem for a number of years. (The problem has been written about comprehensively for at least 50 years.) All of my thinking has centered around coming up with a way to live that sets a new course. Most ideas that are tossed about these days will only help at the margins. Most, if not all, institutions that exist today are only poised to help at the margins. They are not able to effect meaningful change and really serve only as a balm for the ill-informed and those who want to delude themselves. (If you are interested in a deeper understanding of the problem, read this article.)
Freedom is the most important ingredient to a happy and healthy life in my opinion. (Freedom, of course, has to be balanced by responsibility.) Therefore, freedom is my "measuring stick."
- Ask yourself whether you have tangible assets or whether you have paper assets? If your system provides only -- or mainly -- paper assets it will not provide freedom in the long run.
- Ask yourself whether your system is flexible enough to handle global climate change? Will you be stuck with a living environment that may end up beneath the surface of the oceans? Losing most of your assets in the rising seas is not freedom.
- Will you be stuck in a community that you have outgrown? Freedom is not having to listen to those who are not well developed.
- In an age of ever increasing energy prices, will you have the resources to heat and cool your home?
- Is debt the cornerstone of your system and your balance sheet? Debt is not freedom. Indeed, it is probably the most insidious component of any system.
- Does your system provide a quality living and working environment to all participants? It should. Our freedom is contingent upon the happiness and healthiness of all.
- Does your environment promote stimulating intellectual discussions? Freedom is the offspring of such discussions.
- Will your system leave something for future generations? Does your freedom come at the expense of others -- now and in the future?
- Does your system provide plenty of leisure time or does it sap so much energy from you that you plop yourself down in front of the TV when you get home from work?
- The system that currently dominates our culture does not provide any of the above freedoms. The institutions that exist today do not provide any solutions. Maybe it is time to explore other options.
"...we have no alternatives to the models of corporate capitalism, social democratic or Soviet socialism, or technocratic "fascism with a smiling face." The popularity of this view is largely due to the fact that little effort has been made to study the feasibility of entirely new social [and financial] models and to experiment with them."
--Erich Fromm, To Have Or To Be?
We actually don't have to give up or adopt any particular system. We simply need to be creative about rearranging the furniture on the deck. Fromm was one of the first to integrate several disciplines as he explains in the introduction to The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness. He realized that this was necessary in order to comprehensively explore the subject matter in the book. We are doing the same here. Integrating several components of life that for hundreds of years have been separate. And, integrating them in a way that is necessary in order to live comprehensively.
Can we "rearrange the furniture" in a way that gets our footprint below one and improves our quality of life at the same time? Is it time to come up with a way of living that provides the freedom that is so lacking in the current system? A structure that divides work up into meaningful components? A structure that integrates shelter, food, education, work, and leisure? Real sustainable development?
I have described this integration over the years in various posts. Although it has evolved and will evolve in the future, the concept is simple:
- Capital from members/patrons is used to build pedestrian-only campuses around the world and as working capital.
- Living quarters will be approximately 500 s.f. with separate gourmet kitchens and dining areas dispersed throughout each campus.
- Those who build and operate the campuses are independent contractors with rolling quarter-long contracts. These contractors live on-site.
- The entire campus will be a classroom at all times as we should all continue to learn as we live.
- On-site gardens and orchards will provide fresh fruit and produce to the extent possible.
- Reservations will be based on seniority. Those who reserve and occupy specific living quarters will have options to reserve those living quarters in the future.
- Members/patrons will draw down their membership accounts as they utilize/occupy the properties. They can deposit additional membership funds at any time. So long as funds to cover a stay have been on deposit for at least a year in advance of the commencement of any reservation period, members can reserve one or more living quarters.
- If there is a sufficient amount of cash in the working capital account, members can opt to withdraw all or some of the funds in their membership account.
- Please note that this can serve as a comprehensive alternative to the current carbon offset schemes.